I got my driver's license on July 16th. :D It was in second go. My first go, I made the mistake of listening to how others thought I should prepare instead of listening to myself when my brain was screaming it doesn't work that way for us!!! and as a result, I had a bona fide panic attack and failed my test basically as soon as I started the car. I'm actually grateful that I had to wait two weeks for a new test, because it took me more than a week to calm down, and then I started to prepare myself the way I needed to, and telling my instructor what I needed him to do. I thought I might have to work a bit to change the approach, but-
Him: That's actually pretty awesome, you know the nature of your problem and how to deal with it. I get a lot of students that panic like you, but they never even realise or acknowledge the problem, so they simply keep failing and there's little else I can do for them.
One part of my solution made Maz laugh: Chewing gum. But as he learned, I'm deadly serious about that part. It focuses part of my attention when I need it and gives me something to do that isn't fidgeting or talking or any other thing that might distract me. I often pop a piece of gum when I'm beginning to feel nervous and it helps.
Of course, after he failed his test the second time, he also remembered to chew gum at his third test.
That's right. He failed twice.
Normally it wouldn't make me happy. It certainly shouldn't. It was expensive and very stressful to Maz. But, dammit, I'm the one with all the anxieties and such, and he's the one who ended up needing more tries! It makes me feel good to not simply be Worst At Everything.
Oh, and he passed his third test on July 31st. But I'm not sure the gum can get all the credit. There were other factors. ;)
Once I had my driver's license, we began taking the kids all over the place. There are so many attractions just on Fyn (the island we live on, near a city called Odense, here's a map even) that we can visit now. :D Zoos, aquariums, playgrounds, parks, castles, amusement parks... it's so lovely not to be dependent on buses and other crap that never goes when and where you want them to. So we had ourselves a nice summer holiday with all that.
And now Maz was offered a temp teaching job. It's only for a couple of months, but it's full pay, which basically means twice the money he usually gets. Oh, yeah, baby. He wouldn't have been able to go without the car, because it's too far to go on bicycle and the buses are impossible in that direction.
Him: Yeah, that's lucky.
Me: Luck had nothing to do with it!
Him: Uh, right. It's all part of the plan.
Me: You bet it is.
Speaking of luck or lack thereof... No, not lack of luck. We borrowed money for the car from our parents. We had some of the money ourselves and we were cleared to easily borrow more than we needed at a favourable interest rate from Maz's bank, but we decided to ask our parents in the interest of... no interest. Also, no contract fee. And they agreed. We borrowed an amount from my mum and an amount from Maz's parents. I didn't like being too far in debt with anyone, so that's why I insisted on splitting it up to two more manageable amounts. We borrowed 15k DKK from my mum and 10k DKK from Maz's parents and planned to start out with paying each 500 DKK a month and then maybe more a month later if we could afford it.
Mind you, that whole plan was ours. My parents were like, "You need money? Sure. Here. Pffft, let's talk about payments later when you have your taxes and insurances and all that sorted. There's no rush." I began paying them back this month and my mum was like, "Can you afford that?? Do you have money to live on??" And, um, well, no. But we're in the red this month regardless, so those 500 DKK hardly matter a great deal. We'll right it next month, no worries, I'm just not comfortable not paying off my loans when I'm very well aware that it's not the car's fault per se that we're in the red. Remember all those amusements I was talking about? Yeah, they weren't free. Neither was going to IKEA to get a few new pieces of furniture to help the change we're trying to make around here. I know my mum's still fine with waiting for her money (she's outright stated that she likes how we're giving the boys new experiences) but I don't like feeling guilty for other spending, so no.
At the same time I asked Maz to get the account info I'd need from his parents, so I could also begin paying them. That was... an ordeal. Well, no, 'ordeal' is the wrong word. More like frustrating. I like my things orderly, okay? Especially when I owe people money. I don't like owing people money. It makes me anxious to have debts flowing around, so I'd actually have preferred it if our parents would have signed full contracts as to how and when the payments were to occur. Maz's parents were very... at first, his dad said, "Oh, was that a loan?" and then he was like, "Meh, later when you have the money, but not right now. Wait until the time if and when you can better afford it and then we'll see. Yadda, yadda, yadda." I hate that, but of course I'm well aware that I can't voice how much I hate that. I don't like to be reminded at some point in the future that, "Oh, by the way, you owe me 10k." I don't want to randomly remember it as I'm splurging on something else and then feel guilty for not making a bigger effort to pay them back. I want it sorted and with a plan. It probably stems from years and years of my dad using my debts to him to constantly guilt and pressure me into doing whatever he wanted or he'd want the full amount on the spot. Yep, he's a douche, no news there. So I asked Maz to sort it out with his parents.
Of course, then later he talked to his mum and she said the money was a gift. Which doesn't surprise me at all, because that woman has been known to throw money at us. The thing is... well, now it is sorted. It was a gift. I will not be so misbehaved as to demand to pay it back. It does help our economy to get that money, etc, it's just... we're in our thirties. We can pay for our own shit. I know she legitimately wants to help us out financially, and that's part of the reason I don't object (and she knows it makes me uncomfortable, which is why she always gives Maz travelling money when I'm not there) but she works so damn hard and I don't feel right sitting on my ass and harvesting the fruits of her labour.
Argh! But at least now we can pay my mum back faster, I suppose. It's a whole new experience to her to have a debtor that's eager to pay her back. Not getting into specifics since that seems rather douchey and none-of-my-business-anyway, but there are other people that owe her money who don't have any urge at all to get their finances sorted.
Hmm... what other news... We bought a whole pig. Not a live one. It was quite dead and cut up, some of it even ground. We traded away the feet, though. I did not particularly want those. I did not mind standing elbow deep in ground meat and dividing it into smaller bags, but when I accidentally touched a toe, I squeaked. That's how much sense I make. Fortunately we could opt out of getting the head, because ew. The meat of our pig seems to be really good quality and the kilo price was low, so yay!
Kupo is now getting pocket money because he's very interested in the concept of earning money. 10 DKK a week that he's not allowed to spend on sweets (he does get sweets sometimes, we just don't think he should blow his pocket money on it). It's not a lot and he's really no good at saving, but every 2-3 weeks he manages to find some junk toy that he proudly purchases by himself. And he's very committed to doing the minor chores we ask him to do to earn that money.
Snuffles is not bald any longer. He has big blond curls. I might show you sometime when I'm not as tired and lazy as now. Kupo also used to have curls, though, and doesn't seem to now when his hair is heavier, so maybe Snuffles will grow out of it. Snuffles has so much lighter hair than Kupo, though. And very blue eyes. But then, Maz had white-blond hair as a kid as well, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
Snuffles can also speak. Not entire sentences, but sometimes he puts two words together. I'm quite impressed. Kupo was late to the talking game, so the fact that Snuffles can do this at 1½ years (not too uncommon) seems amazing to me.
I lost 15kg since January. I'm at a standstill, but then, I've also been very bad at keeping my diet, so mostly I'm just grateful that I haven't put it all on again. I have been more active since we got the car, though, since I get out more, so that probably helps.
So... that was what I had the energy and inclination to put in today's update. I hope you're all well. :)